Federal Highway Administration’s Public Roads Magazine Proudly Features WalkBikeMarin and Its Successes
Walking and Bicycling Pay Off
by Ben Rasmussen, Gabe Rousseau, and William M. Lyons
July/August, 2012, Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-12-005
Four pilot communities evaluated the effectiveness of investing Federal funds in nonmotorized transportation. The results are encouraging.
Marin County, CA ~ Building on a long history of nonmotorized transportation advocacy and activity, California's WalkBikeMarin focused its non-motorized transportation pilot program (NTPP) resources on filling key infrastructure gaps in its bicycling and walking network. WalkBikeMarin leveraged existing and emerging partnerships, and used strategic community outreach to complement infrastructure investments. The infrastructure gaps tended to be expensive projects that had not been undertaken previously because traditional grant sources are apt to have scoring criteria that reward smaller projects.
Enfrente Road Commuter Connection, Novato
Existing plans and a citizens' advisory committee process enabled WalkBikeMarin to select projects quickly and to identify key targets for NTPP funding for the biggest impact. The strategic investments -- some large and technically complicated -- filled gaps in the existing nonmotorized network and also supported connections to transit to accommodate bicyclists and walkers with long commutes.
In addition, WalkBikeMarin focused on incorporating appropriate bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure into all new construction, and retrofitting existing facilities. A smaller number of off-street projects, such as the Cal Park Hill Tunnel, provided strategic linkages to schools, ferries, and commercial areas. The off-street projects also offered direct and more convenient routes for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Mill Valley’s Nancy Peake takes a ride on the newly paved Tennessee Valley
Regarding the tunnel project, Marin County's President of the Board of Supervisors, Steve Kinsey, says, "It has given opportunities for people to move safely through our community, away from traffic. Most important, it is providing commuters with a reliable, time-saving alternative that connects directly with our transit hubs."
To see the entire article and learn about the other three counties chosen to feature non-motorized pilot programs, click here.
Public Roads is the bimonthly magazine of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).Each issue contains standard departments that include information on topics of general interest, notices of recent publications in research and development, in technology applications, and also emphasizes the continuing commitment of FHWA to be a world leader in promoting highway research and technology transfer.
Parking In Marin County: It’s Everywhere!
WalkBikeMarin staff recently took its proverbial microphone to interview Reuel Brady, Associate Civil Engineer for the Department of Public Works, and discovered how easily everyone can bicycle to work, school, shopping, and more throughout Marin County due to the amazing number of bicycle parking spaces available! Building bike paths and bike lanes have made it easier and safer to get around but it’s also important to have a place to park and lock your bicycle once you get to your destination, so the bike parking program has been working to tackle that very issue. The final question, of course, is why would you ever drive your car again?!
New bicycle "U" at Guide Dogs For The Blind in San Rafael!
WalkBikeMarin: How many bike parking slots are there in Marin thanks to the County of Marin’s Bicycle Parking Program?
Reuel Brady: Current Bicycle Parking Spaces approved/installed are 1,652. We still have 52 or more spaces that should make it before our funding expires on August 22, 2012. In addition the federal program provided 46 parking spaces so I would use a total figure of 1,750.
WBM: When did we begin the Bike Parking Demonstration Program?
Bicycle racks get plenty of use by Dixie School students in San Rafael!
RB: The program started with the 2001 Marin County Unincorporated Area Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan that presented the vision for Countywide Bicycle projects of which Bicycle Parking was one. The Countywide Bicycle Parking project was identified in the program approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors on April 17, 2007 (Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program, or NTPP) to receive federal funding and for staff to recommend an implementation strategy.
Staff worked with Caltrans and Federal Highway Administration to look for ways to simplify the federal funds authorization processes. Staff was unsuccessful in finding a method to make delivery of small bicycle parking projects cost effective using federal funds. In 2008 the Board of Supervisors’’ subcommittee of the late Supervisor Charles McGlashan and Steve Kinsey requested that staff pursue a small demonstration project, and closely document the resources required to deliver the project.
The bike parking demonstration project was completed (46 spaces at a cost of $2,718 per spaces) and has been an effective example of demonstrating to the FHWA why the federal aid process should be simplified for small projects. Around the same time as the subcommittee’s recommendation, staff was able to secure a Transportation Funds for Clean Air grant (non-federal funds) through the Transportation Authority of Marin to encourage and fund bicycle parking installations.
This Bicycle Rack and Locker Program has provided reimbursement funds up to set limits for completed installations of bicycle racks, lockers and cages throughout Marin County. The grant for this program expires on August 22, 2012 and is responsible for over 1,700 bicycle parking spaces at a cost of usually less than $125 per space countywide.
WBM: What does this mean for businesses, schools?
RB: It means that partnering agencies have invested to show that safe and convenient bicycle facilities can lure people out of their cars and that it is possible for people to function in a community setting without the internal combustion engine. So far the results are good especially at the schools where the new racks are well used.
WBM: How much did all of the parking stalls/installations cost?
RB: Our reimbursement figure is $182,782. For installations of less than eight to ten racks there was usually an out of pocket cost to the agency so the actual cost is more, say $190,000. The federal project cost $125,000.
WBM: Funding is ending now because …?
RB: Our Grant agreement is expiring after four years.
WBM: Anything else you’d like to mention?
RB: It is anticipated that the Bay Area Air Quality District will be implementing a Bay Area wide bicycle rack program that is scheduled to open this year. For information about the Air District’s Bicycle Parking Infrastructure program contact Patrick Wenzinger at 415. 749. 4934.
Strawberry Safe Routes to Schools Project
Just in time for back-to-school, a new sidewalk has been created to improve access to Strawberry Point Elementary School, located at 117 East Strawberry Drive in Strawberry, and the County of Marin Department of Public Works (DPW) is proud to offer its expert engineering and project delivery skills to accomplish the task!
New sidewalk and front driveway
Located on the Strawberry peninsula and within walking distance of San Francisco Bay, this educational community is also shaped by an overarching commitment to the environment. Unique to the Mill Valley School District, Strawberry Point, featuring grades kindergarten through 5, is the only public school in Marin with natural bay wetlands on the school grounds. School staff and students study the science of wetland ecology together, where students learn a variety of subjects within an ecological context designed to instil an appreciation for nature and the environment and develop a commitment to working toward a more sustainable world.
Contractor W.R. Forde staff laying the concrete
In keeping with the environmental character of the school, DPW Engineering and Safe Routes To Schools staff are collaborating (physically and financially!) to fill a sidewalk gap from Ricardo Lane approximately 330-feet to the crosswalk in front of the school which now provides a safe place to walk off of the street.
The project, initiated by the Strawberry Point School Safe Routes to Schools Committee, includes two curb ramps and crosswalk at Ricardo Lane, 330 feet of 5-foot wide sidewalk and three driveway approaches across from the school, two new curb ramps and crosswalk to the school, and two new driveway approaches at the entrance and exit to the school parking lot.
Construction's nearly completed; the contractor must accomplish all field work by August 29th, 2012. Since school has been out for summer, this was an ideal time to construct near the school grounds. The driveway to the Strawberry Recreation Center is open during construction, as is one of the two school driveways. For additional information, please contact Scott Schneider, P.E., at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WalkBikeMarin Fared Well During the Marin County Fair This Past July!
San Rafael - The 2012 Marin County Fair theme was Always Fresh, Fun & Local, and celebrated the rich and varied traditions of Marin’s agricultural community, focusing on Marin County's twist and image of being progressive and green.
Cathy Day of San Anselmo with her new Raleigh Detour!
Marin County's Parks and Department of Public Works’ WalkBikeMarin staffs collaborated and celebrated the 2012 Marin County Fair June 30th through July 4th under the Garden Tent next to the Grand Ferris Wheel at Lagoon Park in San Rafael.
WalkBikeMarin featured information on our new Congressional status as one of the na-tion's premier locations for cyclists and pedestrians, along with before and after images of our award-winning projects throughout the county.
Special thanks to Mike’s Bikes of San Rafael who donated and, in conjunction with WalkBikeMarin.org, gave away a Raleigh Detour City Deluxe commuter bicycle to one of over 1,000 entries from fair-goers! Walking and bicycling fair-going fans entered the drawing by answering 3 survey questions pertaining to bicycle and pedestrian projects, such as Parks & Open Space's plans to construct a 17-acre progressive skills Bike Park at Stafford Lake in Novato, and, how many miles a week do you spend bicycling for fun or running errands?
WBM Staffer JeriLynne Stewart, Marin County Fire Department Emergency Medical Officer, and Smokey the Bear enjoying the fair!
The lucky winner of the Raleigh Detour was chosen by DPW’s Transportation Services staff Tuesday, July 10th. Congratulations to Ms. Cathy Day of San Anselmo whose name was randomly drawn in the WalkBikeMarin raffle for a Mike's Bikes Raleigh Detour Commuter Bicycle! Ms. Day shrieked with delight upon learning the news that her name was drawn from over a thousand submissions! Day said both she and her daughter had bicycles but they were old and broken down, and beyond repair. Ms. Day has such gratitude for this fortunate turn of events that she's singing the praises for both the County of Marin's Department of Public Works' WalkBikeMarin program as well as Mike's Bikes of San Rafael.